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The purpose of a resume is to get the interview.

Recruiters will spend about 20 seconds deciding if they will keep reading a resume.

The top 1/3 of your resume should include your transferrable skills and accomplishments.

Resume & Cover Letter Guide

  • Resume Templates

    Resume Examples & Templates

    To download resume templates, log in to Handshake. To access resources within Handshake, log in and go to Career Center > Resources.

  • Resume Tips & Power Words

    Tips & Power Words

    • Use fonts such as Calibri or Arial and a type size of 10 or 12.
    • Use accomplishment statements. These bulleted statements are placed under each position or project and are supported by evidence, particularly quantitative evidence.
    • Start your explanations with a strong descriptive word. See Power Words for a list of helpful words.
    • 1-2 pages is the max that you should include for a strong, readable resume.
    • Only include experience relevant to the job in which you are applying.
    • A professional resume should not include high school listings or references.

    Top 1/3 of Resume: Profile or Summary of Qualifications

    • Does the top 1/3 of your resume communicate the value you bring to the job/employer instead of what you are looking for in a job?
    • Use a Summary of Qualifications rather than an Objective. A Summary tells employers what you have to offer them in regard to your skills and accomplishments. An Objective tells employers more about what you want rather than what you offer.
    • Are you using descriptive words to describe your experience, qualifications, skills, interests, and characteristics relevant to the opportunity, whether it is for a job or graduate school application?
    • Does your resume tell the story of you as an interesting person, while also summarizing what distinguishes you in 4-5 sentences at the top of your resume?
    • Study the job description or admissions requirements for details about what to include.
  • Accomplishment Statements

    Accomplishments & Experience

    Accomplishment statements are bulleted statements under each position or project that start with a past tense verb and are supported by evidence, particularly quantitative evidence.

    • Is your resume marketing your skill and experiences? Or, is it just a list of job duties and education?
    • Are you highlighting the most important aspects of your work experience relevant to the purpose of the resume?
    • Resume Action Words
    • Are there other jobs, academic experiences, leadership roles, or volunteer experience that you could include that is relevant to the purpose of your resume?
    • Are you framing experience statements as “accomplishments” and including specifics, metrics, time and results?
      • Specifics: Who, what, where, and how? Include as much detail as possible about the accomplishment. What kind of report? Who was involved? What system was used? Who was the audience?
      • Metrics: Quantify the work by answering how many, how much increase in numbers or percentages. How many were in the training? How many reports? What size was the space? How many were on the team?
      • Time: Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually are common ways to include time-orientation. If it was a one-time accomplishment include the date it was carried out.
      • Results: Ask yourself, “What resulted in my work/involvement?” Include this as the last bullet statement or in each bullet statement if it makes sense to include it.


    Statement before

    Clarifying questions

    Statement after

    Tutored students

    How many students? For what subjects?

    How often? What age or grade level?

    Tutored 10 college students weekly in Statistics resulting in an increase of one letter grade during the fall 2014 semester.

    Redesigned company website

    For what purpose? How long did it take to complete the project? What was the size of the website? What was the measurement of success?

    Redesigned a 50 page website in 3 months to incorporate 6 new product lines and a new logo, resulting in a 25% increase in visitors and 15% increase in sales.

    Interacted with customers

    How many? How often? For what purpose?

    In what kind of setting? What was the measurement of successful interactions?

    Interacted with 20-30 customers daily by phone to help trouble-shoot issues with HP, Cannon, and Lennox printers. Maintained a monthly resolution score of 95%.

  • Cover Letter

    Cover Letter Examples

    For cover letter examples, log in to Handshake. To access resources within Handshake, log in and go to Career Center > Resources.

    Cover Letter Basics

    • Customize each letter.
    • Keep it short.
    • Research the company and know their culture and values.

    First paragraph: Name the company, express interest in the position and how you learned of the position. Explain your “big why”. Why should they hire you? If someone specific referred you, state their name.

    Second paragraph: (3-4 sentences) Match your transferrable skills to the company’s needs. Highlight your relevant qualifications (strengths, skills and accomplishments).

    • Examples of hard skills (learned in class): Language, certificates, computer programming.
    • Examples of soft skills (how you relate to people): Leadership, communication, flexible, teamwork, time management.

    Third paragraph: Reiterate your interest. Ask for the interview. Express excitement and say when you will follow up.

Get Resume Feedback

After you have drafted a resume, log in to Handshake to have your resume reviewed by the Career Services office.

Career Service Resume Review (Handshake)

After you have drafted your resume, feel free to schedule an appointment to review it with the Vocation & Professional Development office.